South Florida realtors discuss myths and give advice

Christine Stiphany

Certified Residential Specialist

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices/EWM Realty

Her back story: Stiphany was working in the loan department at The Bank of Coral Gables when she received an unsolicited piece of advice from a customer named Ron Shuffield. He had opened a real estate firm and suggested that Stiphany earn her license. “After having two girls, I took Ron’s advice; in 1997, I joined EWM’s office in Coral Gables,” Stiphany says. “I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor.” Her career with EWM has spanned 22 years (and a branding change). Though continuing education never ends in residential real estate, Stiphany often finds that she relies more on the practical knowledge, negotiating talent and contacts she’s developed. “The [skills and insights] I’ve gained from the sales I’ve closed is often the difference,” she says. “There’s no substitute for experience.”

Trend watch: “Buyers still like the open-floor concept with a contemporary design, high ceilings and ample closet space. Communities located within walking distance of business districts, restaurants, shopping and workplaces also are highly sought after, particularly by millennials. The real estate market in South Florida is hot—and getting hotter. SALT ‘refugees’ (those tired of paying state and local taxes they can no longer deduct from federal income tax) are moving here from other parts of the country and driving up prices.”

Sale of a lifetime: “Years ago, I showed a client a few condos on the water with boat docks; she was looking to buy for her son. She purchased one in Coral Gables for $300,000 and paid cash. The buyer’s daughter, who worked at a mortgage company, came with her boss to preview the condos. During the process, we became good friends, and I started assisting them with their own real estate transactions. Over the next few years, I helped these folks sell over $10 million in real estate.”

Words of wisdom: “Selling and purchasing a residence is often a very personal, and occasionally emotional, experience. I tell my clients that, as much as possible, it’s important for them to look at the transaction as strictly business. Buyers are looking at a house that you’ve poured your heart and soul into—and they’re seeing all the things they want to change. The challenge is to find the middle ground; I try to tailor my advice accordingly.”


Rick RappRick Rapp


Travers Miran Realty

His back story: Originally intent on pursuing a degree in child psychology, Rapp’s career path detoured to Fort Lauderdale after taking a few years to enjoy the life of a “ski bum” in Colorado and Oregon. After a stint running a bar in Pompano Beach, he ultimately earned his real estate license and later opened his own brokerage (now Travers Miran Realty). What started as a one-man operation now encompasses an office with a full renovation studio in Parkland and 50 agents. His company motto is “Real Estate Done Right,” which means putting the clients’ goals before his team’s commissions. “I base all of my work on a level of trust, honesty and dependability—without those, what’s the point?” Rapp says. “Many of my clients have become lifelong friends; to me, that’s worth much more than a commission.”

Trend watch: “Wood grains and dark kitchens are being replaced at a rapid pace; sellers with these kitchens are having a tough time selling. Whites and greys are the ‘in’ colors right now; tall kitchen cabinets and countertops made of onyx or quartz also are big. The community pool has changed dramatically as well; new communities are smart to offer family-friendly environments with splash pools, water spouts and play areas for children.”

Myth busting: “ ‘Seller’s market’ and ‘buyer’s market’ are terms used too often in this industry. Homes are not stocks; they are inherently their own unique parcel. The market may have trends, but when buying or selling it’s important to focus on the property of interest—and negotiate properly based on the facts and data that the specific property offers. Know the entire story before you react based on what you may consider ‘market conditions.’ ”

Words of wisdom: “Without a firm understanding of each particular aspect of a sale, you can and probably will do yourself a disservice on either the ‘buy’ or ‘sell’ side. Emotions come into play often, as is expected—but those who act on emotion alone generally are the ones holding the bag at the end of the day, wishing they had been more prudent. Work with an agent who not only understands each aspect of a real estate purchase or sale, but who truly has your back throughout the process.”


Evan GoldmanEvan Goldman

Realtor/Associate, Goldman Residential Group

Re/Max Advance Realty

His back story: The University of Virginia graduate earned his degree in foreign affairs and Spanish. After working in the nonprofit sector, as well as for larger for-profit companies, Goldman decided to pursue real estate. Fortunately, he couldn’t have found a better mentor. “The main reason I got into the business and came back to Miami was to team up with my mother and business partner, Hazel Goldman,” Evan says of Pinecrest-based Goldman Residential Group. “She’s a real pioneer of residential real estate in South Florida. My mom taught me almost everything I know about this business, including what it takes to succeed at the highest level.”

Trend watch: “Mediterranean-style homes are on the decline, while glass and all-white classic or contemporary design is more desirable. The more updated and fully finished a house is, the faster it’s selling—and the more money it’s fetching. Coconut Grove remains very hot, and Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay are still ideal places for families who want the best local public schools for their children.”

Myth busting: “People tend to think it’s easy to start a career in real estate. But it takes incredible commitment, drive, and understanding of people and the local market. Plus, much of the work is driven by clients’ schedules, and their wants and needs. It takes a long time to cultivate a loyal referral network of people who trust you and your expertise. It definitely does not happen overnight.”

Sale of a lifetime: “My favorite transaction was definitely when I sold Dwyane Wade’s house in north Pinecrest. I’ve always been a huge Miami Heat fan—and, of course, a huge D-Wade fan. … The transaction was challenging, mainly because this was in 2009-2010, after the market had fully crashed. But we did an excellent job for Dwyane and his family. I finally got to meet him to sign the contract; he couldn’t have been nicer or more appreciative of our work and care of his situation.”



Photography by James Woodley

Shot on location at Auberge Beach Residences & Spa, Fort Lauderdale

Creative direction: Melanie Smit

Art Direction: Evelyn Suarez

Editorial coordinator: Kevin Kaminski

Special thanks to: Tim Arnold (general manager) and Robert Wheeler (lifestyle team manager)

and the rest of the team at Auberge; and Leia Bosco with Susan Penrod PR


About Auberge Beach Residence & Spa

The only new construction directly on the sand in Fort Lauderdale Beach has changed the residential landscape in more ways than one. The record-breaking property with 171 oceanfront residences—developed by The Related Group, Fortune International Group and the Fairwinds Group in collaboration with Auberge Resort Collection—has total sales of more than $420 million and counting. At press time, only 14 residences remained in the South Tower; the North Tower has closed on its 57 homes. Residences range in size from 1,350 square feet to approximately 6,000 square feet of living space; prices start at $1.8 million and go to $9.8 million. The property’s five-star amenities include access to 10,000-square-foot Auberge Spa, oceanfront dining at Dune, cigar lounge, screening room, golf simulator room, beach/poolside butlers, juice bar and barbecue cabana on the pool deck, 24-hour valet and security, and more. Visit aubergebeach.com or check out the sales office at 2200 N. Ocean Blvd. (with models designed by Steven G Interiors) for additional information.

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